Boris Johnson has finally resigned as British Conservative Party leader following mass resignations from his scandal-hit government.
“It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore, a new prime minister,” said Johnson.
“The process of choosing that new leader should begin now,” he added, saying the time line will be announced next week.
Johnson is not planning to leave office immediately, however. “I’ve today appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will, until a new leader is in place,” he said, in a televised speech outside 10 Downing Street. Appointing new cabinet ministers means that the government can continue to function as he prepares to depart.
Johnson spoke of his attempts to stay on as leader and how “painful” it is for him to step down, but made no mention of the scandals that have proved his political downfall.
“In the last few days, I’ve tried to persuade my colleagues that it would be eccentric to change governments when we’re delivering so much… and when the economic scene is so difficult domestically and internationally,” Johnson said.
“I regret not to have been successful in those arguments, and of course, it’s painful, not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects myself,” he said, adding that he’s proud of “getting Brexit done” and “leading the West in standing up to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.”
Johnson went on to address voters directly, and expressed his sadness at stepping down after nearly three years in the role.
“To you, the British public: I know that there will be many people who are relieved and, perhaps, quite a few will also be disappointed,” he said. “And I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world, but them’s the breaks.”
Johnson has in recent months been engulfed in a series of scandals that forced even his most stalwart supporters to abandon him.